Parasite

The destitute Kim Family begins working for the wealthy Park Family.

Released in 2019, Parasite is not only a great “food film”, but it is also easily one of my favorite films to come out within the past decade. Seeing as we are starting a new year today, I thought what better way to ring in 2022 on food & a film than with this paramount film, which marks the very first foreign language film to be featured on the blog.

For the very first food moment in the film, a couple minutes in, we see Ki-taek (Song Kang Ho) sitting at table in the kitchen while taking out a slice of bread from a plastic bread bag. There is a mug and a bottle of water on the table as well, and we can see condiments and various panty items on the shelf behind him. Ki-taek seems to notice that the slice he took from the bag is an undesirable end slice and looks back into the bag to see if there is a more desirable slice, which there does not appear to be. Ki-taek tears a piece off from the slice and eats it.

The next food moment occurs just a moment later when Chung-sook (Chang Hyae Jin) mentions Pizza Generation before we see a shot of the entire Kim family of four in the kitchen folding Pizza Generation pizza boxes.

A few minutes further into the film we see the Kims gathered around the table drinking cans of FiLite, which is an inexpensive “beer style beverage” (not technically beer according to Korean Trading Standards). Another shot of the family at the kitchen table shows us us remnants of what looks like processed food (e.g. a bag of chips) on the table. 

When Min (Park Seo Jun), the friend of Ki-woo (Choi Woo Shik), brings the family a landscape stone, he tells them the stone is “said to bring material wealth to families,” to which Chung-sook replies, “Food would be better.” After Chung-sook’s comment, we cut to Ki-woo coming out of a corner store with a large plastic bag. We then see him and Min sitting at a table outside the store drinking what looks like sake and there are also a couple of other food and drink items on the table.

We then get another scene in the Kim kitchen where there are multiple dishes on the kitchen table; however, no actual food is visible.

Fifteen minutes into the film, Ki-woo or “Kevin” is brought a mug of coffee or tea by Moon-gwang (Lee Jung Eun) during his interview with Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo Jeong). Moon-gwang then brings out a tray with a fruit plate containing what looks like sliced melon on it, and sets it down on the coffee table. Moon-gwang then says to Ki-woo, “If you feel like snacking during your lesson, just call me.” We then see Ki-woo pick up a green grape from the fruit plate and pop it into his mouth. Yeon-kyo picks up a green grape that she does not end up eating, and we see Ki-woo eat another grape.

Then during the job interview for Ki-jung or “Jessica” (Park So Dam), we see Yeon-kyo, Ki-woo and Ki-jung seated at the Parks’ dining table, each with mugs in front of them. A few moments later, we see Ki-woo take a sip from a mug during his tutoring session with Da-hye (Jung Ziso).

The next food or drink moment occurs when Moon-gwang asks Yeon-kyo if she would like some plum extract and adds that, “It’s mixed with honey. To ease your tension.” Yeon-kyo accepts the offer of plum extract before telling Moon-gwang to also take two glasses of it up to Da-song’s room. We then see Moon-gwang ladling out plum extract.

During the next food scene we see the Kim family at a buffet in a “driver’s cafeteria,” filling their plates with food. As the members of the Kim family load up their plates, Ki-jung asks, “You worked as a valet?” and Chung-sook responds, “Sure, after the chicken place went bust, before the Taiwan cake shop.” As they go to sit down to eat, the Kims all have heaping plates of food filled with an array of items including fresh produce. Ki-taek says, “Eat as much as you want, kids.,” and Chung-sook responds saying, “You didn’t even pay for it, they did!” Ki-taek then scoops some food off of his plate to put on Ki-woo’s saying, “Son, have some more. Eat up! … Eat your fill.”

The next food or drink moment in the film occurs when Dong-ik (Lee Sun Kyun) returns home and Yeon-kyo asks him, “Did you eat yet?.” We then see Dong-ik go to the fridge and take out a pouch of red wine before taking a swig from it.  

The next beverage moment then occurs several minutes later in the film when Dong-ik is holding a cup of coffee as Ki-taek or “Mr. Kim” drives. Dong-ik proceeds to watch the mug throughout the drive as a test to see if it will spill.

Almost forty minutes into the film we get the next onscreen food moment when we see a close up of a fruit plate prepared by Moon-gwang during a study session at the Park residence. Less than a minute later we then get a closeup of a pizza at Pizza Generation, which is then dressed with hot sauce.

Food appears onscreen again when Da-hye holds up a piece of honeydew on a fork and says,
“I want to eat peaches. I like peaches best.” Ki-woo then asks her, “Why not ask for some?,” to which Da-hye replies, “No peaches at our house. It’s forbidden fruit.”

We then cut to a rather iconic moment from the film of Ki-jung holding up a peach that she has just picked up from a produce bin. There is then a voiceover from Ki-woo talking about Moon-gwang: “So according to what Da-hye told me, she’s got a massively serious allergy to peaches. You know that fuzz on a peach’s skin? If she’s anywhere near it, she gets a full body rash.” We then see a shot of peach being shaved with a razor blade, and the peach fuzz being put into a vile. After this peach sequence we see Ki-taek and Yeon-kyo leaving a grocery store with a cart full of groceries before we see Ki-jung and Chung-sook eating or drinking something in the background as Ki-taek and Ki-woo rehearse their scene of deception. In the span of a minute onscreen we see a peach, Ki-jung at the fridge getting a beverage, Ki-woo eating chips from a bag as Ki-jung holds up a hot sauce packet, and Ki-taek with a grocery bag.

The next food or drink moment in the film occurs when Dong-ik asks, “Mr. Kim, do you know of a good braised rib place? Somewhere close by.,” to which Ki-taek replies, “Sure. Then you’ll be eating out?.” Dong-ik responds, “That’s right. Why such a craving for braised ribs today? Our old housekeeper made delicious ribs.”

After this mention of food in the dialogue, we see Ki-taek and Chung-sook eating at their kitchen table, Chung-sook then walking up the stairs of the Park residence with a fruit plate in each hand, and a close up of the plate filled with an array of fruit including peaches. After the close up of the fruit plate, we see the Kims enjoying Korean BBQ or Gogi-Gui, with the foursome gathered around their dining table, which has a small indoor grill on it, grilling meat. As the Kims all get jobs working for the Park family and begin to bring more money home, they begin eating better; they enjoy fresher, finer, and more expensive foods. Now the Kims drink Sapporo beer, except Chung-sook who still appears to have a taste for FiLite.

The next series of onscreen food or drink moments include Ki-woo opening the fridge and helping himself to a bottle of Voss, Ki-woo rolling a bottle of Voss to Ki-jung who is taking a bath, alcohol being poured into 4 glasses for the Kim family, an array of food items and beverages cluttering the Parks’ coffee table, the Parks’ pantry stock in the basement, Geun-sae (Park Myeong Hoon) drinking milk from a bottle like a baby, Geun-sae eating a banana, Moon-gwang and Geun-sae drinking tea, and Ki-jung rubbing a peach on Moon-gwang’s face.

Following this series of food moments, the next major food moment occurs when Yeon-kyo calls Chung-sook and asks her if she knows how to make ram-don. She tells Chung-sook, “Da-song likes ram-don more than anything. If you boil the water now, the timing will be perfect. There’s sirloin in the fridge, add that too.” We then see Chung-sook putting a pot of water on the stove to make the noodles, as well as her cutting the sirloin, and stirring all of the components together. When Yeon-kyo returns home she tells Chung-sook, “Why don’t you just eat the ram-don?,” before deciding to give it to her husband. However we ultimately see Yeon-kyo sit down in front of the bowl, take a pair of chopsticks and pick up a piece or sirloin. Chung-sook pours a bottle of Voss into a glass, and we see that there is a small bowl on the table as well; however, we cannot see what is in it (possibly a side salad?). Yeon-kyo then asks if the sirloin is cooked through, and Chung-sook replies, “Medium well done.” Yeon-kyo then asks her husband if he wants some ram-don, but he declines and we then see Yeon-kyo take a bite of the ram-don.

Chung-sook then brings over a fruit plate with sliced apples, sliced grapefruit, red grapes, and blueberries on a skewer. Yeon-kyo proceeds to tell Chung-sook about Da-song (Jung Hyeon Jun) eating his birthday cake on the kitchen floor, adding that the “whipped cream on that cake was amazing.” We then see a flashback of Da-song eating his birthday cake before cutting to a shot of the now empty bowl of ram-don that Yeon-kyo has polished off. Da-hye then gets upset when she realizes that her mother has eaten all of the ram-don saying, “I like ram-don too! How could you not even ask me?,” before adding, “Da-song didn’t want it, so you asked Dad, then ate it yourself.” Yeon-kyo then asks Da-hye if she wants Chung-sook to make her some and when Da-hye tells her, “That’s not the point!,” Dong-ik interjects, “Stop fighting over ramen!”

After the scene with the ram-don, the next scene to feature food or drink occurs when Yeon-kyo decided to have an impromptu birthday party for Da-song. When Yeon-kyo calls Ki-jung to invite her she says, “If you come too, Da-song will be so happy. And have as much pasta, gratin, and salmon steak as you want.”Leading up to the actual birthday party sequence we see Chung-sook prepping produce in the kitchen, Yeon-kyo food shopping with Mr. Kim in grocery store and wine shopping at liquor store, and Yeon-kyo picking up prawns from the seafood section.

During the catered birthday party, Chung-sook gives Ki-jung a plate of food to bring down to Moon-gwang and Geun-sae, and Ki-jung puts another piece of meat on the plate. We then have a close up shot of a recreation of Da-song’s birthday cake or Da-song’s trauma recovery cake.

In addition to Da-song’s birthday cake, the film’s final food or drink moments include Geun-sae chugging plum extract, Chung-sook stabbing Geun-sae with a large skewer sword that has sausages on it, Ki-taek eating from a can of fish, Ki-taek taking food from the Parks’ former fridge, and Ki-taek saying, “It turns out Germans eat more than just sausage and beer. What a relief.”

For my Parasite-inspired menu, I decided to prepare vegan Ram-Don (jjapaguri with steak), as well as created a version of Da-song’s birthday cake, complete with candles.

Of course, I also had to include a juicy peach with the meal since no Parasite-inspired menu would be complete without one. And for my beverage, a bottle of Voss water.

Finally, for the place setting, I selected a fabric inspired by the film’s art direction to use as a tablecloth.

And that concludes the very first food & a film post for 2022! Thank you so much for tuning in for this year’s inaugural post, and be sure to check back next month for another new entry! Happy New Year!

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